High costs and more effective ways for game companies to spread the word about major announcements could be killing E3. The video game industry is maturing and these events may become a thing of the past.
Press events like E3, Gamescom, and PAX play a major role in the video game industry. It’s the time of year where even casual gamers spend a little time tuning in to these highly produced conferences to see what’s on the horizon. Events like E3 are a time for gaming companies to make their major reveals, new console announcements or showing off a highly anticipated or completely secret title. However, companies like Sony and Activision have turned to other means to share their news with the gaming community. Nintendo never takes to the main E3 stage and instead holds a Nintendo Direct. E3 is an exciting time for gamers, but the cost and effective alternatives to a massive press conference are becoming more attractive.
It isn’t cheap for a company to attend E3. In 2017, a large scale E3 booth cost around $6,600 per day and that’s the low end according to Gameindustry.biz. Booth space is only the beginning. At the Game Developers Conference in 2017, a pre-cut 10ft x 10ft carpet cost $191, a simple plastic chair runs $60, and GDC charges $118 per day for electricity (10 Amp/1000 Watts). These were the prices in 2017. As with any event, product, or service, expenses increase over time.
All the prices listed above only include the bare minimum, just a carpet, a chair, and electricity. It still requires a tremendous amount of money to ship equipment or a booth to a conference. Shipping 1,000 pounds of freight through UPS Air Freight can cost upwards of $6,500. Now it’s time to think about hotel rooms for staff, travel, and all the marketing materials adds up quickly. An E3 conference could cost as much as a house. Companies are beginning to question whether the cost is justifiable.
E3 2019 wasn’t quite the same without some of the massive names in gaming. Both Sony and Activision were a no show. Instead, they decided to host streams rather than physically attend the conference. Blogs, social media, YouTube, there are multiple avenues for Sony and Activision to inform their fans. These massive companies were both able to get their announcements out and at the same time avoid the monstrous expense that comes along with attending E3 2019.
Phil Spencer, Executive Vice President of Gaming at Microsoft came out after E3 2019 and expressed concern about the future for this staple of the gaming industry. He made the point to state that E3 isn’t just about the new releases and company announcements, it’s about the perception of the industry. The World Health Organization classified Gaming Disorder as a recognized disease and E3 is a time to show gaming is beyond just the anti-social kid in the basement. Spencer does have a vested interest in how E3 performs. He currently sits on the board of directors at the Entertainment Software Association, the group responsible for hosting E3 every year.
As the video game industry continues gravitating toward streaming as a way to communicate with the community, an E3 kind of conference begins to look less and less worth the expense. Nintendo crushed it with their Nintendo Direct. Streaming news costs a mere fraction of a ticket to E3. Of course, smaller companies are at a massive disadvantage. Sony, Activision, Nintendo; these organizations have a pile of money to throw at advertising and already have a huge community.
E3 2019 was always a time to gather around and watch the highly produced press conferences. It’s unclear how long this will last but it’s unimaginable to think E3 and similar events will disappear altogether. Instead, it’s much more likely for big name companies to take a back seat when it comes to attending these conferences. This would leave room for smaller game companies to use the main stage to build their notoriety.
Only time will tell what the future holds for E3 and other large scale gaming conferences. There’s no word about Sony or Activision regretting their decision to sit out of E3 2019. If this trend continues, it may leave room for smaller companies to take their place and reach a worldwide audience. As the video game industry continues to evolve, GigamaxGames.com will continue to watch and report. Be sure to keep checking back for all the latest news, reviews, and gameplay and to stay up-to-date with this ever-changing community and industry.
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